The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) together with the South Western Institute for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA) has called for calm, free and fair elections.
As a result of the subsequent by-elections that were marred by violence the two civil society organizations are deploying 30 community election observers to the Ruhaama County by-election to be held on 11th January 2018.
Observers will be deployed in the 11 Sub Counties of Ruhaama, including Ntungamo, Itojo, Nyakyera, Ruhaama, Ruhaama East, Rukoni East, Rukoni West, Kafunjo Town Council, Rweikiniro, Kitwe Town Council and Rubobo.
According to the National Coordinator for CCEDU, Crispin Kaheru, observers will report on general election administration including opening, polling and closing processes of polling stations; tallying and announcement of results; the conduct of security agencies; the role of media; participation of special interest groups; as well as the immediate aftermath of the by-election.
“The observation is intended to verify whether the electoral processes adhere to international standards and national legal provisions of conducting credible, free and fair elections. Observers will also pay special attention to any arising good practices that could be replicated in subsequent elections,” Kaheru said.
The Ruhaama Constituency seat fell vacant after the death of area MP William Beijukye Zinkuratire (NRM) on 4th November 2017. The by-election has attracted a total of four candidates, Moses Mugabe Kahima (NRM) , Eng. Jackson Mubangizi (Independent), Dr Penninah Bainomugisha (Independent) and Vastine Orishaba (Independent).
Campaigns for the by-election commenced on 11th December 2017 following a successful nomination of candidates’ exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission.
Although campaigns have been largely peaceful, community observers have noted widespread reports of political intimidation especially in Rweikiniro Sub County; instances of voter bribery; isolated incidents of violence as well as cases of candidates holding campaign meetings beyond 6:00pm, which is in contravention of the EC guidelines on campaigning.